The bright lights, celebratory feasts and gifts galore enhance the holiday season. However, all the wrapped presents and Christmas lights shining all night long, form a ton of excess garbage and energy. The Center for Disease Control reports that Americans throw away about 25% more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve. If every American family wrapped just three presents in reused materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields. That got me thinking. Since I research and report on taking small steps toward better health, why don’t I investigate easy, eco-friendly tips to go green this holiday season.
Our latest WTNH-Newschannel 8’s CT Style segment with Meghan Yost showcased three strategies and over 15 ideas for a green holiday season.
USE/RE-USE: Search throughout your house or yard for items that you can use to decorate. Go green and recycle!
Dehydrate pinecones and use them year after year. Use them to decorate throughout the house, on fireplaces, in vases or trays.
Get creative with household items. Love Legos? Inspire your child to build a menorah or advent calendar out of them. Live near a beach? Collect shells, then clean them. Next wrap twine around a wooden wreath template and then glue the shells to the twine to make a beach house wreath. Create your own by recycling wrapping paper brown paper grocery bags and wrapping your gifts with them. Motivate kids to decorate them with stamps, stickers or color crayons. Another bright idea is to gift a colorful bamboo scarf and tie it around another boxed present. You can even come up with creative ways to use produce.
DIY: Encourage family fun time by making homemade gifts together. Buying manufactured gift uses tons of natural resources to build, manufacture, package and ship, so creating your own simple gift is a solid green strategy.
Buy glass ornaments at a craft store and stuff them with items that your friend/family will love. For the musician – shred old sheet music and insert in the ornament. From the Lego lover, add a few small Legos .
Instead of gifting cookies, candy or other sugary treats, purchase a nice glass container wrapped with twine and fill it with dehydrated fruit or salted seeds.
For the beauty lover, create an essential oil salt scrub with just a few ingredients.
CONSERVE ENERGY AND USE NATURAL INGREDIENTS: Being green is better for your health (less chemicals, less hormone disrupters) and better for the planet (less toxins, pollution, resources used = an eco-friendly aka better for global environment.)
Use Energy Efficient Lights – Deck the halls with all your lights, just make them energy-efficient. The best solution is to try solar lights, powered by the sun. If your house isn’t positioned for six hours of sunlight on the mini-solar panel, check out energy-efficient Christmas lights. Most of these items are cost-effective. If you aren’t in store for new Christmas lights, try buying a timer for the ones you use.
Utilize Natural Ingredients – Some candles let off potentially hazardous chemical (benzene, toluene) that can cause damage to organs. (Think of people who walk into a store and can’t tolerate the smells of candles or get headaches, allergy/asthma attacks.) Some candles don’t pollute but release unneeded chemicals in the air. So, rather than lighting highly fragrant candles, try boiling spices or infusing essential oils for the warm and sweet holiday smell. If you are lighting the menorah, check out eco-friendly candles, too.
What are some small tweaks you can make to your holiday traditions to be more “green?” Do you have any other eco-friendly suggestions?
TOOLS FOR A GREEN HOLIDAY SEASON
This post may contain affiliate links meaning I may receive a commission with no costs to you. During the year, I pro-actively try many of these products and then affiliate myself with these items that I already use and love.